Phosphorylation of the carboxy-terminal repeat domain in RNA polymerase II by cyclin-dependent kinases is sufficient to inhibit transcription

Maha M. Gebara, Michael H. Sayre, Jeffry L. Corden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cdc2 kinase triggers the entry of mammalian cells into mitosis, the only cell phase in which transcription is globally repressed. We show here that Cdc2 kinase phosphorylates components of the RNA polymerase II transcription machinery including the RNA polymerase II carboxy-terminal repeat domain (CTD). To test specifically the effect of CTD phosphorylation by Cdc2 kinase, we used a yeast in vitro transcription extract that is dependent on exogenous RNA polymerase II that contains a CTD. Phosphorylation was carried out using immobilized Cdc2 so that the kinase could be removed from the phosphorylated polymerase. ATPγS and Cdc2 kinase were used to produce an RNA polymerase 110 that was not detectably dephosphorylated in the transcription extract. RNA polymerase II0 produced in this way was defective in promoter-dependent transcription, suggesting that phosphorylation of the CTD by Cdc2 kinase can mediate transcription repression during mitosis. In addition, we show that phosphorylation of pol II with the human TFIIH-associated kinase Cdk7 also decreases transcription activity despite a different pattern of CTD phosphorylation by this kinase. These results extend previous findings that RNA polymerase II0 is defective in preinitiation complex formation. Here we demonstrate that phosphorylation of the CTD by cyclin-dependent kinases with different phosphoryl acceptor specificities can inhibit transcription in a CTD-dependent transcription system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-402
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Volume64
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 1997

Keywords

  • RNA polymerase II
  • carboxy-terminal repeat domain (CTD)
  • cyclin-dependent kinases
  • phosphorylation
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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